“HIAS [Jewish Immigrant Aid Society] likes to bring in invaders who kill our people. I can not stand back and see my people being slaughtered. Im going in.”
Robert Bowers posted this message on Gab, a popular social network with the alternative right, minutes before killing 11 people at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue.
According to SITE, a group of experts who monitor extremist organizations, this is the same Robert Bowers who has been identified by the authorities as the sole suspect of the shooting. CNN reports that investigators also believe the account is that of the suspect.
And it was not his first anti-Semitic statement on this platform known to be used by supporters of the far right and white supremacism.
HIAS is an American NGO helping refugees, which is said to be “guided” by Jewish values and history. Bowers has often criticized it, in publications or comments on Gab.
AN ANTISEMITE PROFILE
The description of his profile on the platform said that “the Jews are the children of Satan”, while his photo displayed the Neo-Nazi symbol “1488”. The first two numbers are a reference to the supremacist slogan “14 words” and the last two, “88”, refer to “Heil Hitler”, the letter H being the eighth of the alphabet.
Robert Bowers, registered in Allegany County as a non-affiliation voter, does not appear to be a supporter of Trump, for whom he said he did not vote, in an online commentary. He openly criticized the US head of state for Gab, calling him a “globalist and non-nationalist”. He also wrote that there would be no “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) as long as there is a Jewish “infestation”.
In yet another publication, he shared information in support of a conspiracy theory that the Holocaust, during which about 6 million Jews died, did not really take place.
Recently, Robert Bowers published a photo of a collection of semi-automatic rifles, and others of human-shaped targets riddled with bullets, praising the “incredible relaxation” of his weapon.
According to CNN, the man was licensed to legally possess firearms and had obtained at least six firearms since 1996.
The Gab platform claimed to have removed Robert Bowers’ account shortly after his name was mentioned in connection with the massacre. She says she does not support acts of terrorism and violence, but claims to defend “freedom of expression and individual freedom online for all”.
POSSIBLE DEATH PENALTY
According to CNN, which quotes a member of the police, Robert Bowers made anti-Semitic comments after being arrested.
The 46-year-old was not known to the authorities before yesterday’s events, according to the FBI. His criminal record shows an offense for driving without a license plate.
The Associated Press reports that a police intervention in a Pittsburgh building yesterday afternoon could have a connection with the suspect. Officers on the scene were apparently heavily armed.
The US Department of Justice will charge hate crimes against Robert Bowers, including some “that could lead to the death penalty,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Theo Smith graduated from New Mexico State University with a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior & Health Care Management. Theo grew up in Los Angeles, but moved to Las Cruces for college. Theo has written for several major publications including the Albuquerque Journal and NPR. Theo is a community reporter and also covers stories important important to all Americans.